Nearly a month after the Omicron COVID-19 variant started its spread in Alberta, active cases are now higher than they've ever been.
During yesterday's update, Premier Jason Kenney confirmed the current number of active cases confirmed by PCR tests is 62,733, though the premier says that due to the province's overwhelmed PCR testing capacity, the actual number of active cases is likely much higher.
In the last 24 hours, 6010 new cases were identified after 14,350 tests, showing a positivity rate of 40.9 per cent.
Despite this, hospitalization rates are relatively low when compared to the case count, with 786 Albertans in hospital with COVID and 79 in intensive care.
Close to 90 per cent of Albertans age 12 and up have received at least one dose of the vaccine, with 85.7 per cent having gotten two doses.
Nearly 1.2 million third doses have been administered to Albertans over the age of 18.
Kenney says this demonstrates the protective power of COVID vaccinations.
"While cases amongst vaccinated individuals are higher because of the nature of the Omicron variant, the evidence so far shows that their cases will most likely be mild, so please don't be fooled by those who point to high case numbers right now arguing that it's proof that the vaccines aren't working. Nothing could be farther from the truth. The vaccination rates of hospital patients confirm that the vaccines are doing their job, they're doing what they're supposed to do, which is to prevent severe symptoms, severe outcomes."
He pointed at the rate of hospitalization among the unvaccinated as a direct demonstration of this.
"Over 70 per cent of the COVID patients in our intensive care wards right now are unvaccinated, and they come from the 10 per cent of the population that have not yet received a dose of vaccine. That is powerful proof of the protective effect of this vaccine."
Alberta's COVID hospitalizations currently sit at 786 (an increase of 38 from the day prior), with 79 in intensive care (a decrease of three from the day prior.)
An additional eight deaths were confirmed.
While the availability of PCR testing was recently reduced, the premier announced the province recently received a shipment of 1 million rapid tests, and that he's expecting to receive another 3.5 million next week.
Dr. Deena Hinshaw also announced changes to outbreak reporting.
Alberta Health Services will be focusing case investigation resources on high-risk settings like acute and continuing care facilities.
Because of that, the province will continue to report outbreaks in those settings, but won't be reporting other outbreaks.
Information provided by Okotoks Online